BENRIACH DISTILLERY CO.
Benriach is on the hunt to buy a blended brand with international credentials as part of plans to expand its business.
Managing director Billy Walker said he was looking for a brand that was no longer a focus
for one of the major international whisky producers. But the brand would need to sell well
in one of the company's target regions - such as the far East or Eastern Europe - to be
attractive, he said.
Billy Walker, the former director of Burn Stewart Distillers, bought the BenRiach distillery
near Elgin from Pernod Ricard in 2004, adding the GlenDronach distillery near Huntly from
Pernod Ricard in 2008.
Later this month Billy Walker will complete a 3th deal with Pernod Ricard to buy his bottling
plant at Newbridge, in Midlothian, which will be used to expand production of the single
malts from BenRiach and GlenDronach distilleries.
About 41, taking BenRiach's headcount to about 75. The remaining Newbridge staff will be
replaced by Pernod Ricard.
Billy Walker: "if a brand comes up that we still believe has heritage and has legs then we will
buy it." "W ith the big dronks companies focusing more and more on their core brands, I
believe there are opportunities with some of the smaller brands, which are very populair in
key markets overseas"
Having built the business on malts, Billy Walker said his company's expansion needed to include blended whiskies, which account for about 85 % of whisky production by value
compared with malts'15 %.
Clan Murray, the firm's existing blend is selling well in Africa, Billy Walker said, and the new bottling facility would allow hin to expand production/
Billy Walker has signed contracts with Pernod Ricard to carry on bottling some of the French
firm's whiskies at Newbridge.
The acquisition is expected to take turnover from 6 million pounds to 19 million pounds this
year and Billy Walker said he was confident that the plant would add to profitability as well.
BenRiach has focused on a core range of single malts from its two distilleries alongside a
series of limited edition bottlings, which have appealed to connoisseurs.
BenRiach Distillery Co. has avoided listing its products in multiple retailers such as Asda and
Tesco instead favouring whisky shops and Oddbins to keep prices and profit margins at
workable levels. Some 95 % of the company's sales come from ecports, with Sweden, Germany, Taiwan and the United States as its key markets
Billy Walker has plans to build a new bottling plant at Newbridge. It is an investment
of 500.000 pound.
He bought the side from Pernod Ricard in August.